Tag: pro

Spidermonkey of the Week – Jenny Lynch

by Jenny Lynch

Jenny Lynch and Lindsey Fahey

Jenny Lynch and Lindsey Fahey

@Ken Dorado – I see your Big Wheel® Night Rider and raise you a Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel®.  Nothing screams “badass” like a purple and teal “bike” with flower stickers and a basket for your toys.  (Side note: Anyone who has seen my current bike may notice that my style has not changed much over the years and I still tote around just as much luggage).

Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel

Cabbage Patch Kids Big Wheel

Growing up on a small cul-de-sac in Chicago provided an excellent training ground for riding.  My routine consisted of going around in small circles over and over and over and…..  I looked forward to the time when I could take on the wild yonder past the end of the block.  When I was finally able to graduate from my Big Wheel to the big leagues (i.e. a Huffy), I was ecstatic.  My first “real” bike was a lovely shade of neon pink.  It was, of course, adorned with handlebar streamers and spoke beads, a natural continuation of “badassness.”  Every 4th of July the kids in the neighborhood would decorate their bikes and form one large crazy train that rolled throughout the hood.  I remember thinking that life could not get any better.

4th of July Kids Parade

4th of July Kids Parade

(I’m not this old, but I found this picture online of my neighborhood walk/bike parade from back in the day.  Cool to think of how far back it has been a tradition!)

My next big bike milestone came when I outgrew the neon pink machine.  My parents got me another Huffy (nothing like building brand loyalty at an early age).  It was purple with neon pink accents and a neon pink paint splash effect on the frame… much more sophisticated than its predecessor.  This bike also had the potential for pegs.  Yes, pegs, the ultimate bike accessory!  My peg dreams were quickly quashed by my parents (and in retrospect… probably for the best).  I loved my pegless bike in all its glory for many years.  I even loved it after I unsuccessfully tried to stand up AND let go of the handlebars at the same time [fail…scars].

Come junior high, my purple bike with neon splashed paint was not as cool looking as I remembered.  It was even rejected by a bike thief in the neighborhood (three bikes unlocked and out in the open, only two were taken… hmm, was it that bad?!  How rude…).  When I started high school, I retired from my amateur bike career and sadly there was a long hiatus before my love for biking was rekindled.

Mountain Biking!

Mountain Biking!

Fast forward many years and, on a whim, I purchased my first road bike.  Similar to my Big Wheel, there was some amount of purple and flowers involved.  After a couple more years, Lindsey Fahey decided that it was time to be legit with this bike thing (reference Fahey SMOTW).  After much trepidation, I joined her and a lovely group of ladies on a Tuesday morning ride.  Despite having no clue what I was doing, I was so drawn to how friendly everyone was and how accepting they were of such a flaming amateur.  The more I went on SM rides and met people, the more I grew to love the team and the whole underground bike culture that I had previously evaded me.

Two monkey years later, I have learned a ton, I am still NOT “so pro”, but overall I have had a wonderful time and look forward to many more years pedaling away.  When I sat down to write this I was flooded with amazing memories from my childhood that involved bikes, fun, and friendship.  Reflecting on the past few years and my time with Spidermonkeys, that continues to be the theme.
wind farm

Tour Of Lawrence: Street Sprints

Spidermonkey Sprinters
by Mark Zalewski
I’m sure that you, like me, have explained to your non-cycling friends what a criterium is and the difference between that and the Tour de France — as well hold back your laughter when they ask you if you “think you’ll ever ride the Tour de France someday?” (Seriously, I get that question A LOT.)
But even cycling friends gave me looks when I said that the Tour of Lawrence started with street sprints. “What is that?”
You don’t see these too much at races anymore but they used to be a staple back-in-the-day at races like Quad Cities over Memorial Day. 
To give you a visual, think of the critically acclaimed film featuring a feel-good performance by Vin Diesel The Fast and the Furious. It’s a drag race, plain and simple. (Not that kind of a drag race… though this one also features shaved legs.)
200 meters. Three or four riders per heat. An official blows the whistle and you turn yourself inside-out to go as fast as you can. First one or two over the line advance to the next round; the others go and cry in their free locally brewed craft beer. Rinse, wash and repeat.
Oh, but here’s the ‘FUN’ part. It’s not like other races where it’s broken into groups like “Master’s/Women/Category 3/55+…” Oh no my friend, it’s only separated by men and women — otherwise it is OPEN. That’s right kids, you see the rider next to you wearing that Jelly Belly Pro Cycling kit? No, he’s not a ‘fred’ pretending to be a pro; that is Brad Huff, former U.S. National Criterium Champion. So grab your man onions and see how you measure up. 
Seriously though, the amount of times Trent has brought up being manhandled by Steve Tilford in 2010 and is sooooo excited to tell everyone about it illustrates just how much fun it is to race against the best. You won’t have this opportunity anywhere else except on Strava.
The Spidermonkeys featured Kelly Clarke and Michelle Moore in the women’s bracket; Brandon Diffenderfer and Hayes Sanborn flew the flag on the men’s side. Oh and someone talked me into doing it at the very last minute, WTF?
The key to a street sprint is the start. You cannot necessarily win it here but you certainly can lose it. It’s also a ‘standing start’ meaning that there is a someone standing behind you to hold your bike, allowing you to clip in — just like a time trial in Le Tour. But unlike a time trial you do not get a surly fat French guy giving you a countdown. 
You wait… and wait. And try not to tip over while standing on your pedals waiting for the jackass in lane 2 who cannot clip into the second pedal.
Requisite Teachable Moment:
Standing is a better option than staying seated as you will have more power. Hands in the drops is also better as you’ll be pulling damn hard and this allows you to stay over your front wheel more, keeping it on the ground. 
Gear selection is key as too large a gear and you’ll take longer to get up to speed — too small and you’ll have to shift more frequently which disrupts cadence and increases potential for mis-shifts.
Big ring in front, for sure. Brandon gave the small ring a try and had a great start because of it but said he ran out of gears approaching the line.
‘Back in the day’ friends of mine would alter their rear cassettes. Instead of having a smooth progression down the cluster (i.e. 23-21-19-17-15-13-12-11) they would put the 21 next to the 15 and 11 so they would only have to shift three times. Though this was before the integrated shifting we have now where it’s all up front, but you see the point — 200 meters is a short distance to do much of anything put pedal your tookas off.
The ladies went first. Both Kelly and Michelle were new to standing starts but learned quickly. (Look at Michelle’s textbook start in the Tour of Lawrence video!) The first round both took a close fourth in their heats. In the second round both again took fourth but not by much. Time for beer.
The gents were up next. We were three-up in our heats and like the ladies the first round was gratis with the results used to seed the second round. Brandon could not wait to go and was in one of the first heats. I looked at my row and saw this: A 20 year-old elite amateur from the Horizon Organic team with a crazy power-to-weight ratio AND Eric Bennett, a professional on the Wonderful Pistachios UCI pro team and former BMX national champion (where getting the ‘hole shot’ is rather vital.) Awesome.
Ok, I did not have the best start and got third in that round but was ONLY a half-wheel from Bennett at the line, so I’m taking that as a win. 
Next round I am behind Brandon in the ‘bronze medal’ lane and chatting with Brad Huff, last year’s winner. At that point Brandon does the math and sees that Mr. Huff is in his heat and somewhat jokingly asks if anyone wants to swap spots. (Smart move!) And someone actually does. (Not a smart move.)
In the end we each rode admirably, had fun and broke a sweat doing so, showing that we gave it our all. Or maybe it was the 101F on the bank thermometer?

The Memorial Weekend Omnium

Katie Isermann at Quad Cities
Photo by Elizabeth Rangel

Kristen Meshberg and Sarah Rice were at The Memorial Weekend Omnium this past weekend, which has three criterium races in the Quad Cities area (Iowa and Illinois).  A lot of pros come out, and there’s some top notch racing. Sarah Rice reported on all three races:

          Snake Alley
          Melon City
          Quad Cities

Spidermonkeys of the Week – Ride Leader Words of Wisdom

For the first installment of the new year, we thought a few words of wisdom from the Spidermonkey Ride Leaders would help set the tone for another great year or at the very least waste a couple minutes of your time.  So read on, absorb the wisdom, piss excellence and ride on!

Dean Okun – The Wisest of the Wise

  1. Any ride that ends at JJ Peppers is a good ride!
  2. “Special A” at Budacki’s is the perfect recovery food.
  3. No, Ken Mitchell is not a Rockefeller, but has nicer bikes than them.
  4. Getting a flat tire is NOT catastrophic!!!
  5. You do not chew ZYM!
  6. There IS sushi at the rest stop on the Harmon Hundred!
  7. The Easter Bunny will steal your gloves on the Easter Ride.
  8. Do not change your shorts/skinsuit after applying Embrocation….you will get it on your junk.
  9. Shaving your legs is pro.  Not shaving all the way up and having hair shorts is NOT pro.
  10. “Reply All” is not a button you press to win the lottery.
  11. Rookie Tattoo‘s (or Cat5 Tattoo’s) aren’t just for rookies!

Vanessa Schilling – Wiser than the Wisest

  1. For the newbies: wearing underwear under your shorts is a huge faux pas. More importantly, you will be made fun of for the rest of your life.
  2. Folding the changing tent looks so easy but it’s not.

Rebecca Paulson Meyers – Wiser than Michael Meyers

  • On chilly rides, an extra sports bra in a sandwich bag for a wardrobe change in HP is a lifesaver.

John Lyon – Questionable Wisdom for Moving to NW Indiana

  1. When temperatures rise stick a frozen water bottle down your back.
  2. When riding home from Three Floyds on a 100 degree day jump in Lake Michigan to cool off.
  3. Don’t drink 3-5 beers before riding home from 3 Floyds on a 100 degree day.
  4. If a bus tries to pass a group of 15 people on a Wednesday Night Ride let it go. The next street is probably your turn.
  5. Before you chase Drew up Tower Rd find out where he plans to turn around!

Drew Kushnick – The Wise Attacker

  1.  4 out of 5 experts agree that running is not good training for cycling.
  2. Ask one of our ride leaders (Rebecca) how to get a Rookie Tattoo and for advice on how to get them off.

Kristi Hanson – I’m so Wise, I’d rather be Climbing

  1. According to Dean you can ride on a flat for days.
  2. Girls do go on the Wednesday Night Ride. Some of us stay with the fast boys (aka Vanessa, Kim, and Katie), but most of us do not so you will most likely have people to ride with. If not, just know the route and hang on as long as you can. It will make you faster. :-)

Josh Green – Pisses Wisdom All of the Time!

  1. Never let a new rider lead the group, even if they are faster than everyone else in the group.
  2. When that new rider gets to the front anyway and asks should they turn left the answer is “correct” not “that’s right.”
  3. There is *never* sushi at any rest stop.
  4. Watch out for big grated manhole covers unless you like to fall over at 0 mph when everyone is watching.

Brandon Diffenderfer – I’m so Wise I can spell my own last name

  1. If you “win” the Ugly Jersey competition, we should never see you in that kit again.
  2. Blinkies are cheap, buy one.
  3. PRO: I don’t know where it started. I don’t know who started it. But use of PRO as shorthand for cool/hardman/awesome/remarkable is really, really annoying. More rants can be found here
  4. We don’t care about your max 5 minute power output, you’re still slow.

John Castro – Pissed Wisdom Last Year

  1. It’s helpful to have 1-3 alarms spread around your bedroom to ensure you get up on time to make it to the Saturday ride.  Or bust your ass to catch up with the group somewhere on the way north .. and sometimes if you’re really late, hopefully before everyone’s done with coffee at HP.
  2. Some experts agree that running is good training for cycling.

We could go on and on and on … but, we’ll spare you.  We’re looking forward to another great year!  See you all out on the road (and dirt)!!

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